The hiatus is over, folks! AppBoard Tuesday (ABT), the free weekly newsletter that gives you all the latest from the world of mobile app development and other related tech domains, is back…and we are not planning to take another break anytime soon. From now on, it’s going to be one interesting topic under the scanner after another, week after week.
During our Friday brainstorming and research session last week, we came across a fascinating survey result. According to a Gartner study, by the end of 2017, 1 out of every 4 businesses will have its very own enterprise app store. The interest of business houses of all scales – right from established ones to ambitious startups – in using mobile applications to bolster brand visibility and sales leads is already significant enough. And that, dear readers, got us thinking about what features should a ‘good’ enterprise app be all about in 2015. After a solid weekend’s research, we zeroed in on the following predictions:
- Popularity of native apps would soar – If the trends visible from the latter half of last year are anything to go by, corporate houses would no longer be content with a mobile version of their websites (for promotions, information-sharing, etc.). Instead of relying upon desktop solutions, there will be a sharp spurt in the demand for native applications related to business. As a direct result, app companies are also likely to concentrate more on creating this type of custom apps. The Apple-IBM collaboration has already shown the way for seamless integration of mobile-desktop technology, and this trend would gain momentum this year.
- Wearables will still not be the prime interest of developers – Yes, Apple Watch is the most awaited gadget release in the first half of 2015. Even so, the flop show of other smartwatches as well as the doomed Google Glass has shown that wearable technology is yet to take solid roots in the worldwide markets. During this year, most businesses would keep their focus on making apps from tablets and smartphones – in particular, the latter (since tablet sales are, in effect, going nowhere). If Watch turns out to be a runaway success, entrepreneurs and marketers might just sit up and take notice.
- Reliance on hybrid cloud storage would increase – New business apps are likely to offer easy cloud storage options for targeted users. For several months now, the manifold advantages of data management on hybrid cloud – from lesser costs to better, quicker accessibility – have been evident, and these factors would drive on the demand for using hybrid cloud as a reliable storage medium. What’s more, in-house cloud storage resources would be complemented by the services of third-party cloud service providers.
- Need for better security and employee-level accessibility – The push towards adoption of the initially hotly-debated ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) strategy would increase in 2015. That, in turn, would make it vital for mobile app developers to incorporate high-end security and accessibility features in business apps. The focus is likely to be on making mobile data (stored in the apps) available to every employee, who require the same. Breaches in mobile app data security protocols would (hopefully) become rarer.
- Free apps for business would rule the roost – This one is probably the easiest prediction to make. Free iPhone apps and Android apps have a much larger target audience than paid applications – and enterprise apps are not going to be an exception. Every company would want its app(s) to be downloaded by as many people as possible, and it would only make sense if free apps (with ads and/or other built-in app monetization feature) are opted for, to start things off. Of course, these apps might have in-app purchase options (for, say, gift vouchers and coupons).
- Implementation/monitoring of app analytics would be increasingly sought after – Who would be hiring mobile app development companies to create business apps? That’s right – hard-boiled businessmen, and they would be more than eager to find out whether their apps are being worth the investment. Understandably, they would require in-app analytics functionality, to monitor user-behavior. In general, it would all be about providing top-class user-experience – so that these apps can effectively serve as tools to expand a company’s clientele.
- Business software development would become more in-house – And that would, of course, include creation of enterprise applications. While iOS/Android app developers would still receive their fair share of business app development projects, more and more companies would start creating these apps with their in-house development team. For startups in particular, in-house app development would present lucrative opportunities to cut down on nearly all aspects of infrastructure – right from creation and deployment, to networking, storage and maintenance. Many companies will start recruiting software experts for in-house development of customized business apps.
- Mobile Commerce is likely to gain in importance – Google Wallet has been in the picture for several years now – but it is the relatively recent arrival (and acceptance) of Apple Pay that forms the basis of this prediction. With secure, touch-free payment gateways (mobile POS), new-age business apps would enable people to make transactions via their phones/tablets. In 2015, digital currency would be the primary mode of transaction between corporate houses and their clients, and m-commerce apps would enjoy high demand levels.
- Enterprise apps would serve ERP and CRM needs – As already highlighted before, mobile apps for business would increasingly focus on better user-experience. Active monitoring of user analytics would also enable entrepreneurs to get real-time feedback from customers, and alter their product/pricing strategies accordingly. This will automatically ensure smooth and information-inducing customer relationship management (CRM). In addition, in-memory computing solutions have the potential to rise in a big way for enterprise resource planning (ERP) for businesses. Companies with weak ERP branding and/or no in-house enterprise app would find the going tough.
- Apps would need to have offline functionality – Unlike the present scenario, the demand for business apps that work fine in an offline environment will receive a boost. Although more and more companies would move over to wi-fi internet connectivity in their office premises in 2015, employees would love to have apps that do not lose their functionality when not connected to the web. While working offline, business apps should not compromise on the speed factor either.
- Most enterprise apps would come with subscription options – According to leading business entrepreneurs as well as app development experts, enterprise apps in 2015 would be available with subscription pricing (either annual or per-user subscriptions). Preloading of bulky proprietary hardware and paying large amounts to acquire app licenses will not be opted for by most firms. Opting for subscription pricing models for mobile applications would offer a definite competitive advantage to users.
- Both iOS and Android would be equally important platforms for businesses – iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are big hits, and Android is not going to go away anywhere in spite of the lackluster performance of the recent Samsung flagships (thanks to the presence of so many vendor companies). As such, cross-platform mobile app development would be necessary while making enterprise applications. Neglecting any one platform would effectively mean wilfully curtailing the size of potential client-base.
The importance of business apps having systematically created app content would become vital like never before. Mobile searchability is yet another factor that developers are focusing on in 2015. App developers would get the chance to offer optimized ‘Platform-as-a-Service’ (PaaS) packages. The responsibility of specialized graphic designers in lending business apps an engaging appearance and layout will also be paramount. Companies that do not include dynamic mobile strategies in 2015 will start to lag behind their competitors.
That roughly sums up our predictions and hunches regarding the direction in which enterprise app development and usage would move in 2015. If you feel that there are any other significant trends, do write in. Have a contrary argument? If yes, share what you have to say – and we will definitely analyse if you are correct.
Before saying ‘adios’ for the week, a bit about our new apps. By last week, we had four new iPhone apps in their final stages of development and testing – One Brands (mobile shopping app), Sting (photo-editing app), Rapport Card (mobile relationship monitor) and Freebird (app for sharing creative works). You can check them out on our Behance profile.
AppBoard Tuesday (ABT) will be back next week with another interesting topic related to mobile applications. Till then, love thy apps!
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